Friday, July 30, 2010

Pretty Baby, Multi Baby, Love Child...

"There is something fantastic that happens when people who come from different backgrounds meet and fall in love. The children who come from these unions are not mere mixtures; they're "magic potions"! When I look at them, I see exotic spices, fragrant herbs, lovely flowers, and colors that can overwhelm the senses.   
I see a vision of the future."
-Cher from Kip Fulbeck's "Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids (2010)"

As the  "half-breed" diva herself puts it, multi babies have the tendency to make people catch a serious case of the warm and fuzzies (not gonna lie, myself included).Cher recorded her hit single "Half Breed" in 1973. Being part Cherokee herself, Cher sings about being a mixed race woman and not being accepted by either her Cherokee or white family. She ends up leaving both communities and subsequently becoming a superstar. The simple song is pretty downright depressing, but there's something strangely empowering about her last line "But I can't run away from what I am" sung in a Las Vegas showgirl meets Tiger Lily get-up (that's strangely alluring and offensive all at the same time) on top of a pinto horse. Fastforward more than thirty five years later and Cher is talking about "falling in love" and "exotic spices, fragrant herbs and lovely flowers."

In Cher's afterword to Kip Fulbeck's latest book, Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids quoted above, there's almost this sense of being "intoxicated" by the mere sight of multi kids (aka: magic potions). In these our recent postracial climes, multi babies mark race reconciliation and signal the end of racial "difference". Though nothing can be further from the truth, there is a way in which multi kids are seen as bright and shiny, disarming (...and I present Exhibit A on the left) new members of a changing America. Do multi babies= love conquering all, in this case racial/ethnic differences?

Eagerly flipping through Kip's book and reflecting on the subsequent "oohs, aahs" and the breathy "they're so cute/beautiful" sighs that multi kids usually incite, strangely enough got me thinking about the not so lovely (or distant) realities of our multi pasts. Yeah, I know... I'm such a downer. But as Kip's book demonstrates, we may be headed towards a happier future ( I hope).

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